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What Increases the Risk of Trisomy?

Trisomy is a chromosomal disorder in which the nuclei of cells contain an extra copy of a chromosome. There are a few forms of trisomy, including trisomy 13, 18 and 21. Trisomy 21 is best known as Down syndrome. Specialized children’s services can help children with trisomy live life to the fullest, but there is no cure and there is no known way of preventing these disorders. If you have concerns about your preconception health or prenatal care, consider speaking with a women’s services provider affiliated with Lawnwood Regional Medical Center.

Chromosomal Abnormalities

During Trisomy Awareness Month, which is recognized in March, take a few minutes to become familiar with human chromosomes and their potential abnormalities. The cells in the body contain genes within their nuclei. These genes are essentially the blueprint for life. In a person without trisomy, the cells contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which equates to 46 individual chromosomes in total. A person with trisomy has a total of 47 chromosomes because of an error in cell division. For example, the majority of Down syndrome cases are trisomy 21, as opposed to mosaic trisomy 21 and translocation trisomy 21. Trisomy 21 occurs when an extra copy of chromosome 21 is present in the sperm or the egg. When the sperm fertilizes the egg, this fertilized egg has a total of three copies of chromosome 21. When the cells of the embryo divide, the extra chromosome is copied in each new cell.

Maternal Age

Unlike many medical problems, trisomy disorders cannot be affected by environmental influences or lifestyle modifications. Preventive measures are not available, aside from undergoing genetic counseling prior to conception. However, one risk factor that researchers have identified for trisomy is maternal age, which refers to the age of the mother during conception and pregnancy. As a woman grows older, her eggs do, too. Older eggs have a higher risk of dividing abnormally.

Lawnwood Regional Medical Center provides compassionate children’s health services in Treasure Coast. Our women’s services provider affiliated with Lawnwood Regional Medical Center include prenatal counseling and testing, and our newborn care is supported by our Level III NICU. You can reach a registered nurse at our hospital at any time by calling (800) 382-3522

Categories: Trisomy, Down Syndrome

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